T Nation

Cash for Clunkers


I heard about this Cash for Clunkers program for the failing American car companies.


Supposedly, you an trade in your car and get $4,500 towards a new one with 0% interest. It just seems too good to be true.

I have a '98 Altima with 120,000 miles. It's in perfect mechanical condition and the body is fine except for one easily-repairable dent.

I read up on it, but it's still confusing me. Could somebody who knows about this please enlighten me? Would it be worth it to trade in the Altima? It gets great MPG and I'm fine with getting a small car, or one that's a downgrade in MPG, just not by too much.

Thank you,


I believe in order to qualify the car that you're trading in has to have pretty bad gas mileage. I could be wrong but I think that's the idea.


The point of it is to get people to buy cars that get high MPG and trade in cars that get low MPG. I forget what the limit is, but the car you trade in needs to get below a specific MPG threshhold.


Your car needs a combined (city/highway) gas mileage of under 19 mpg. Your car is not on the list. sorry brotha


Does your Altima meet this condition:

Have a combined fuel economy of 18 mpg or less.

I'm guessing no, and unless you meet that condition, no deal.


OK..my posts are not showing up. But because your cars gas mileage is good it does not qualify. The combined city and highway EPA mileage of the vehicle must be under 19 mpg. So like a car or truck that gets 10 city and 20 highway averages to 15 mpg and qualifies, while on that gets 20 city 30 highway averages 25 and does not.

Plus to get the full $4500, the new vehicle you are purchasing must be 5mpg better than the clunker for a truck/van and 10mpg better for a car.

In this market with everyone trying to be eco-friendly, you could probably get $5000 for that car if it's super clean and has maintenance records in a private sale. I just saw a 99 accord for sale with 160,000 miles for $6900 last weekend at a dealer.


I just heard a story on the news today wherein a guy had a 1987 Crown Victoria which he finally said its time for this piece of shit to go, espescially when he heard for the cash for clunkers program. The estimated MPG for the crown vic was 18, though he said he got much less then that. This program only allotted him $500 towards a new KIA!

Basically people should realize that its UP TO $4500 not necessarily $4500.

the following link is a list of eligible vehicles


I could be mistaken but I dont see an altima on the list.


My prickhole neighbor mentioned this program to me. I think my '81 Chevy meets all of these requirements. Shitty gas milage, old, crappy paint job. Too bad $4500 bucks wouldn't even cover the cost the engine, let alone transmission, rear end, A/C, brakes, power steering, and all the other crap upgraded on her. I think the government is trying to screw me out of all my hard work just to get me to buy some boring ass grocery getter.


What if I buy the cheapest V8 I can find and put it in the car?


There is a list of certain models that can and can't be traded in to get the credit. Even if you switch the engines, your car is not on the list of elligible cars.


Artem, you would spend more than $4500 to purchase and put the engine in. This program was designed to kill all the classic muscle cars so people would drive around in Geos. It's not a new program.

To the guy with the Chevy, fuck your neighbor. I'd do burnouts right in front of his fucking house. You got line-lock? That would help.


The car you trade in has to be scrapped by the dealer. The only trade in value you would get would be the scrap value. The paperwork required by the dealer is huge which is not suprising since they are dealing with the FedGov. This program is a huge ripoff intended more for politaical points than anything else


The car you trade in has to be a 1984 or newer. Also, the car has to have been insured for the past year. No buying a POS and towing it into the dealer to get the trade-in money.

I just looked at the official site: Only $858 million left in the program. That's not a lot of money when you consider how many people are interested.

Also, on the official site, there is a list of dealers who are participating. Since there is a mountain of paperwork involved, I'm sure quite a few don't want to bother with it.

Here's the official site:



No, you get $3500 or $4500. Not the trade in value of the car. Any dealer telling you otherwise is lying. And no, you can't put a shitty engine in it, deflate the tires, or any other shit to make it qualify. They go by EPA estimates.

The car must also be a 1984 or newer. Obviously you wouldn't trade in a truck or muscle car worth more than $4500.

I do have a truck that qualifies, but there's not really anything I want under the $45,000 limit. I'd rather buy used.


so you want one of them Power Wagons with dualies, stacks and a turbo diesel?


I want a Lotus 7 replica, SL65, Z06, Atom, or something equally fun.


well i want a Koenigsegg


My mother in law and her husband are taking delivery today of a vehicle they bought under this program. The traded in their old ford f150 and got a Ford Ranger. I do not think it was 0% interest, but they got the full $4500 plus $4000 additional in rebates from Ford. There was a shit ton of paperwork to do, incluidng two years worth of registrations and insurance cards.

Worth it, though. Qualifying vehicles to buy new are hard to come by, they had to have theirs delivered from 200 miles away. The second closest available was in Seattle. We are in Montana.